After a two-year absence, Rapid Fire Theatre’s international improv and sketch comedy festival, Improvaganza, is back at its full improvisational strength. The theatre’s 20th festival goes on for 10 days, bringing improv art from all over the world to Edmonton.
“Before getting into the feature performance, the first half for most shows is a theatre sport show,” says Matt Schuurman, artistic director of Rapid Fire Theatre. “It’s a competitive improv show with short scenes and teams playing against each other. So most of our shows start with a little teaser, and it helps ease into the atmosphere for first-timers.”
Besides the headline event featuring The Great Canadian Baking Show host Ann Pornel, Schuurman also recommends The Big Stupid Improv Show for those who haven’t seen a Rapid Fire Theatre production. It’s a recurring show with continuing audience engagement, and has been presented at the Fringe Festival since 2015.
This year’s festival poster showcases angry geese with flames bursting out of their eyes, and two skull-faced dice performing on stage.
“Our artist said, since improv is different every time, it’s very much like rolling the dice. You don’t know what you’re gonna get, because this is an art created at the moment,” says Schuurman. “I requested the goose, because this is a Canadian festival, and I wanted the artists who come from other places of the world to have a poster kept for memories, including the memories of these terrifying winged creatures.”
The Rapid Fire Theatre is currently operating at a temporary space as the team builds a new theatre space in Strathcona, hoping to put it into use next year. This year’s festival takes place at the Gateway Theatre, right next to the Yardbird Suite.
The full schedule of Rapid Fire Theatre’s Improvaganza is now available, July 13 – 23.